How to save money in Canada? It’s not that hard to trim the budget fat. With inflation being at the highest it has been in a while, here are 16 ways to save money fast in 2023 so that you can punch money concerns you may have in the face. These money saving tips are pretty easy to implement and don’t take very much effort, so you will be able to save money fast.
Updated January 2023.
Implementing these 16 tips will save you a shocking $7206 in 2023 alone.
Table of Contents
Stop Paying Bank fees
I have a bank account that I use for my paycheque and daily transactions. I keep a minimum balance so that I don’t pay the bank fees. The minimum balance is $3000 at all times. Otherwise, it would cost me $10.95 a month in bank fees for the account that I have.
Sometimes I accidentally go under this when I transfer money to my savings account after pay day. When this happens I just call my bank and ask them to waive it. They have waived it each time and it just takes 5 minutes to phone them. I have done this plenty of times especially during my periods of #mombrain while on maternity leave.
Right now we use the Scotiabank Ultimate Package for our joint back account. Sure, we keep a minimum balance but the perks are worth it.
Some people don’t want to pay a minimum balance. There are lots of alternative bank accounts to the big Canadian banks that would charge you for monthly fees. An example is Tangerine Bank (owned by Scotiabank) which will give you 5.00% in annual interest for the first 5 months. Afterwards, it is 0.10% annually. After signing up, you will get an “Orange Key” referral number where you can refer family and friends and get $50 if they deposit $250 into a savings account (they will also get $50).
There are other Tangerine promotions available, such as $300 cash back on a new account.
These are mainly ‘online’ banks with less brick and mortar access than the big banks in Canada.
For the details of no fee banks, check out my research on High interest Savings Account Comparison in Canada. For example, Canadian Tire high interest savings account has one of the highest rates in Canada.
Better yet, how to save money in Canada is to get rewarded with $300 for signing up for a new bank account in Canada (not only will you be saving $131, you can make $300!).
Here are some no fee chequing (or day to day banking) accounts in Canada to check out.
Don’t Pay Credit Card Fees
How to save money in Canada on credit card fees? I don’t pay annual credit card fees and we have some premium cards too. Like the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite which normally costs $120 a year. Here’s how to get the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite card for free (worth $120/year). For those that prefer cash back, I signed up for the Rogers Bank World Elite Mastercard.
For those that prefer a bigger ‘bang for your buck’ I have lately been addicted to signing up for 10% cash back credit cards. These credit cards offer 10% cash back usually on the first 2-4 months of the card.
Another credit card that I am a huge fan of (and does not have an annual fee) is the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard. We have gotten hundreds of dollars of groceries from Loblaw’s (e.g. City Market, No Frills) for free because of this card.
We also don’t pay fees for our US dollar credit card.
Better yet, Great Canadian Rebates often pays you $100 to sign up for a credit card through their website!
Negotiate If You’re Getting Or Renewing Your Mortgage
I renewed my mortgage in 2018 and did some negotiating with my mortgage provider. I had a smallish mortgage (by Vancouver standards) so it made sense to just stick with my current mortgage provider than to switch providers. Here’s the mortgage renewal process I went through in 2018. You can save thousands of dollars over the year just by asking and making sure you’re getting the best rate.
You can also save money by switching to a home insurance provider that is known to be cheaper.
Savings: A Lot!
Pack Your Lunch
Let’s say you eat out for lunch daily at work, that’s $10 a day. That’s $2400 a year on lunch alone. I always pack a lunch for work, even if it is something simple like avocado toast or a cream cheese sandwich. I bring some fruit too, and always pack an apple and a banana.
If I have a bit of extra craving or am still hungry then I’ll treat myself to something like a donut or a coffee for the day. Sometimes I go out for lunches with my coworkers and that’s totally fine, it’s just not every day. When I do eat out for lunch, I don’t feel the need to ‘skimp’ on what I order for lunch.
Yes, I’m Going to Mention the Latte Factor
Yup, I’m going to mention the Latte Factor.
This was coined by author David Bach. He talks about how small insignificant things add up over the year. A latte is not cheap here in Canada! It’s like at least $4.00. If you have a latte on a daily basis, that’s $960 a year on lattes alone. I sometimes have a coffee especially if I’m with coworkers but I usually go once a week or every few weeks.
Otherwise, I just make my coffee at home. Sometimes I need a little pick me up on a Monday (ughh Mondays) and need a sweet treat to get me through the work day. Let’s say you cut down to once a week lattes instead of once a day, that brings the savings to $768/year.
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I also recently tried the Tazo Chai Tea Latte tetrapack box and mix it with milk. It tastes just like the the delicious sugary Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes (because it is). I only pour 1/4 cup of the latte mix and the rest milk because otherwise it’s too sweet. I even add some whipped cream to it for extra luxury. That box has lasted me a long time and I still get my sweet hot drink fix. Now I’m never going to get a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte again!! Here’s the recipe for the DIY Copycat Starbucks Chai Tea Latte.
Better yet, you could grab a real Starbucks treat as part of your birthday freebie in Canada.
Finally, I get a Starbucks treat but I use Starbucks rewards to get my Starbucks drink. Here’s how to get free Starbucks in Canada.
Use Your Instant Pot to Meal Plan
How to save money in Canada is by saving on food. Especially by cooking foods at home instead of getting take out, thanks to the Canadian inventor of the Instant Pot.
I like to cook but only when I have time to cook, otherwise I feel like it’s a big chore. It’s hard to have time when you are exhausted from work after a long work day. I use the instant pot so much it’s not even funny.
My instant pot broke a few years ago but they mailed me a replacement inner pot very quickly. I use it to make Chicken Pho (once a week) and beef ghoulash and a lot of other meals.
I love it because when I get interrupted by my young children, I don’t have to worry about burning the food or over cooking things on the stove.
I usually prep cook on a Sunday to have at least a few meals ready for the week. I also prepare the instant pot meal and dump everything in before I leave for work and when I come back, dinner is ready. Sometimes I am not prepared for a meal and feel too tired to cook and we just order takeout sushi from SkipTheDishes. Here’s how to save money on takeout in Canada, for example, by getting free meals from Uber Eats.
Savings: $1000/year (let’s estimate making meals ahead saves you $20 in takeout every week)
Make Your Own Wine with the Instant Pot
Yes, you can make your own wine with the Instant Pot! All you need is grape juice, red wine yeast, sugar, 48 hours and some patience venting and de-venting your instant pot. Apparently it tastes like $8-12 table wine. I haven’t tried this yet because I’m expecting right now but you better believe that once I can drink again I’m going to give this a try. I have a feeling it won’t taste that great but it’s worth a try anyway if you have some time and energy.
Savings: Probably none but fun to try anyway!
Buy Groceries On Sale
I check out my local flyers to see what’s on sale through the Flipp App and I search for certain items and stock up (like for example, my husband’s Red Bull).
I have a certain grocery shopping algorithm that I use to double dip and triple dip on savings and coupons. For example, I use Checkout 51 and scan my receipt to make sure I have taken advantage of all the coupons available.
Caddle is also another great one that pays you to scan receipts.
Using Paymi is another way to save money and get cash back when shopping too.
I also try to only shop on the 20x the Points Days at Shoppers Drug Mart to maximize the PC Optimum points.
Rexall’s Be Well Program also has similar incentives.
PC optimum is one of my favourite personal finance apps.
Finally, for fresh produce, I go to the local mom and pop grocery store and avoid buying fresh groceries at the big box stores unless they are on sale. Apples are usually at least $1.29/lb at the grocery store and at the local mom and pop shop they are $0.79/lb or sometimes even $0.69/lb. Because we eat at least 10 apples a week the savings seem insignificant but they really do add up!
Savings: $500/year (at least)
Make a Phone Call to Your Internet Provider
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I am not on a contract with my Internet service provider. I love not being on a contract because it gives me the power to negotiate. I used to call every three months to get a promotional rate and I threaten to cancel and move my Internet service to the other competitor (the main competitors are Novus, Telus, Shaw, and Teksavvy in Vancouver).
I research the promotional rates available. One time it got really close and they basically called my bluff, but most of the time it works. Now they kept my ‘rate’ for one year so I don’t have to call every three months. Because of this, we don’t pay the $76/month for medium/basic Internet service and pay $30/month instead. This is a savings of $552/year.
Here’s a step by step process of the phone call you should make with Shaw and Telus for your Internet.
Make a Phone Call to Your Cell Phone Provider
Canadian cell phone plans are notoriously expensive. How to save money in Canada on this recurring bill?
Similar to the Internet bills, I make sure my cell phone plan is under $65 a month. I don’t like paying $80-100 a month for cell phone service. I don’t use that much data, max I use is 2G of data. I call the retentions department occasionally to make sure I am getting a good rate on my cell phone service but having a “BYOD” plan really helps.
When you have BYOD you are not on a contract and they do not have you where they want you. You have the freedom to move around. BYOD stands for bring your own device. I recently upgraded to an iPhone 8 (after 5.5 years with the iPhone 5) and I guess it’s not BYOD but the increase in the monthly fee for my plan is pretty minimal, thankfully. Saving $20 a month is equivalent to saving $240/year.
Instead of buying the latest phone I just get a new battery or a new screen if the screen is broken (e.g. my home ‘button’ broke recently but I just replaced it).
Cut Out Cable and Switch to Netflix
I haven’t had cable for over 7 years and don’t miss a thing. Now when I have access to cable, I get a bit overwhelmed with the channels available and end up spending at least 20 minutes channel surfing only to end in frustration with nothing to watch. We just subscribe to Netflix instead. It used to be $8.99 and now it’s something like $16.99 but still worth it.
For example, Shaw Cable “small TV” with around 50 channels cost $60 a month. That’s $720 a year (plus tax!). When I had cable I remember it being something like $100 a month including tax, because of adding sports channels etc.
Get Your Books at the Library Instead
I used to buy books especially my favourite genre personal finance books from Amazon. However, I have found that my local library is amazing and has all the books that I am looking for. This has saved me at least $75 a year if I buy each book for approximately $15 each.
If they don’t have it you can always request the library to purchase that book. You can also access newspapers and magazines from the library too.
While you’re at it, you might be interest in my opinion of 5 must read personal finance books for Canadians.
Do An Alternate month Shopping Ban
I did this in 2017. I choose January as a ‘green light to spend’ month and then February will be my ‘try not to spend’ month. Spending means like buying treats for myself like snacks at work or buying clothes.
It forces me to re-evaluate whether I really need something because I have to wait for the following month.
It works well for me because I can be a very impulsive person when it comes to shopping. Even when it was a ‘green light to spend’ month I still was very cognizant of whether I really needed that item or purchase.
Savings: Dependent on how much you normally spend
Fill Up on Gas on the Cheapest Day of the Week
Another how to save money Canada tip is to save money on gas.
Given that gas is ridiculously expensive in Vancouver, I would estimate I save at least $5 a fill-up, and I fill up twice a month on average.
Cut Your Own Hair (if You dare)
My husband watched some Youtube videos, bought some cheap Wahl clippers from Amazon and now saves $220 a year (and more importantly, his precious time) by cutting his own hair. He’s so good at it now that I don’t need to spot check. He cuts his own hair about every 3 weeks now and saves at least 1.5 hours every three weeks (commuting to and back to the hair stylist).
I personally don’t have a hair stylist that I normally go to so I just rotate through Groupons to save money on my haircuts.
I’ll let you in on a big money saver though, another way to save money on haircuts is to have two young children, haha! You’ll have no time to get get a haircut!
Add a Little Minimalism To Your LIfe
There are a lot of ways that you can add a little minimalism to your life without too much effort. When I do a closet purge, I find a lot of clothes that I didn’t know I had, and this makes me more satisfied with what is in my closet and I don’t feel the need to buy more. I also wear the same clothes frequently at work and don’t really care.
With my 5 other girlfriends, we agreed on no more birthday presents and no more Christmas presents (after all, we are in our late 30’s now) for each other. We just take each other for a birthday meal instead (5 of us chip in for the 6th friend). It was an easy discussion (and welcome relief). Minimalist gifts that won’t be thrown away are my favourite kind of gift to give (and receive).
Savings: $200/year ($40 x 5 birthday gifts)
Take Advantage Of Your Employee Benefits
We get extended health benefits through my work and therefore get some registered massage therapy included. When I feel like I need some self-care (which is every other month to max out my benefits) I book an appointment with my registered massage therapist.
I pay $10 dollars for this after submitting my benefits. Some people like to go to a spa to get pampering done (let’s say it’s a conservative $160 visit at a spa that you would go to once a year) but an RMT is good enough for me!
And just like that, there’s $7206 in savings that you didn’t know you had!
Hope these how to save money Canada tips are useful for your kick-butt money saving ways in 2023. It’s not that hard to save money and you can save money fast by implementing some of these strategies.
Some of them are more difficult to implement than others, but I promise you that saving $7206 in 2023 is going to feel pretty good at the end of the day. Hope these how to save money Canada tips are useful.
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Do you have any other easy fast saving money tips?
What are your favourite ways to save money fast?
GYM is a 40 something millennial writing about personal finance since 2009 and interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for a free dividend yield spreadsheet and the free Young Money Bootcamp PDF.